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What makes a vintage poster collectible?

What is a Vintage Poster and Are All of them Collectible?

A vintage poster is a piece of history. However, age alone isn't what makes a vintage poster most desirable or collectible. If a vintage poster was produced even a short time ago but is no longer available and in high demand, it can slip into the vintage or collectible category quickly. But generally speaking, vintage posters are usually somewhere between twenty and fifty years old. However, just because a poster was made a number of years ago doesn't automatically make it collectible. There are other factors that determine whether a vintage poster is a valued collectible.

Highly Valued Vintage Posters Must Be the Real Deal ~~ Not a Copy!

To be considered vintage, a poster must be an original not a recent reprinting or copy of the original. But even if authentic, not all old posters are valuable -- there are other factors to consider.

Top Five Factors Affecting the Price of Authentic Vintage Posters

The most desirable and collectible vintage posters have all or most of these factors going for them:

One is the Overall Popularity of a Vintage Poster

Even in vintage posters it's all about supply and demand! If there aren't very many of a particular poster and everyone wants it then the price or value will be higher.

Two is the Rarity of a Vintage Poster

This is a hard one because it can be hard to determine just how many copies of the original poster were made. But sometimes that factor is known and the fewer there were of a particular vintage poster the greater its value.

Three is the Artistic Achievement of a Vintage Poster

Some vintage posters were designed by well known or popular artists and this will make them have a greater value.

Four is the Originality of the Vintage Poster

There are ho-hum vintage posters (with run-of-the-mill or common image that looks like every other poster image) and then there are others that stand out and grab attention perhaps because it has a unique or compelling image or message -- the latter always sells for more.

Five is the Condition of a Vintage Poster

Hey, if your vintage poster has been hanging in a barn open to the elements and it's beat to being almost unrecognizable don't expect it to be worth the same price as one that looks brand-spanking new because it was professionally preserved for 40 years! However, if your vintage poster is extremely rare and the condition is a little bad, it might still bring a decent price. Condition is an important factor in what your vintage poster is worth on the market.


• Even small pin holes are considered a factor in the grading of collectible posters.
• See Our 5 point Vintage Poster Grading Scale
• Posters gained immense popularity as a mass communication method around 1870

Highly Collectable White Rabbit Poster, by Joe McHugh, 1967, East Totem West
White Rabbit Poster, by Joe McHugh
1967, East Totem West

Highly Collectable Newport '69 Poster, featuring Jimi Hendrix, 1969
Newport '69 Poster
featuring Jimi Hendrix, 1969

Highly Collectable Whole Earth Week Poster, by Peter Max, 1970
Whole Earth Week Poster
by Peter Max, 1970